Saturday, June 30, 2007

Thoughts before the storm

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm having possibly the laziest Saturday afternoon possible today. Little will to move, let alone blog.

But I do have a few random thoughts to put out there before all hell breaks loose tomorrow at noon:
  • The big thing to watch for is going to be how involved "bad" teams will be tomorrow. And by bad, I essentially mean those who didn't make the playoffs, who sold off assets late in the year and who have plenty of cap space. Think Washington, Los Angeles, Edmonton, Colorado, Philadelphia, St. Louis, etc. (The Capitals' brass told me personally this off-season that they'll be in the mix for one top-notch forward and defenceman, so take that for what it's worth.)

    As much as there's been talk of the so-called desirable teams being able to attract the top free agents, players like Scott Gomez, Dan Briere and Chris Drury are probably all headed to teams that weren't contenders last season simply because those are the teams with the right combination of money to throw around and desperation to turn things around for their respective franchises.

    GMs like Peter Chiarelli in Boston are going to make here-and-now decisions in order to keep their jobs, and that's going to mean some (more) goofy contracts throughout the league.

  • The figure I've heard served up by the Islanders for Ryan Smyth is $50-million over seven years, which is a helluva place to start the bidding. More likely, however, Smyth has no interest in locking in so long in what's been a pretty dysfunctional organization, and he could be one of the "big" names who takes a discount to play with a contender.

  • Eric Duhatschek (who I finally met in person this week when he was in town for the Hockey Hall of Fame voting) had what was likely the best UFA preview piece in today's Globe and Mail, and in it he basically outlines how the bidding is expected by all to be fast and furious. There's a good chance that, by the holiday Monday, we've seen the majority of the desirables snapped up — something that should only add to that desperation I talked about already.

  • With the salary cap rising to $50.3-million, the max individual player salary just climbed to just more than $10-million, and while I don't think anyone in this class of free agents will head into that stratosphere, there are players who will get that figure in the near future. (Think Sid Crosby.) What that means is that other elite centres will be priced out according to that high end, and I expect Drury to command about $8-million per season on the open market despite the fact he's never had a 70-point season. He's good, but not that good, and that kind of bloated deal moves him into the liability side of the ledger.

  • Here's one last look at my master UFA lists: Forwards, Defencemen and Goaltenders.
The plan for tomorrow's fun is, I think, going to see me pounding out 20+ posts at The Globe on Hockey all afternoon, something that will be a huge waste of time if, in fact, there's nothing to blog about (other than the fact there's nothing to blog about). Please feel free to come by and keep me company, or offer tips up by email if you're feeling generous.

Spector and Kukla are the other guys to follow on this business, as all of us apparently have little better to do with our Sundays.

And now I'm going to go waste my cap money on John McClane's latest adventures.



At 5:23 p.m., June 30, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

Little better to do on Sundays? How about a freaking holiday? Get some sun, James! Play catch up tomorrow instead... Or if you're still desperate for info, just get updates on your cell phone.

I can't believe that TSN is airing a Free Agent Frenzy special on Canada Day. Can we please move this free agency date to after, or before, each of the national holidays?

Canada Day is about sunshine, beer, fireworks, barbecue, and if you can get out there... the water/beach. No hockey is needed.

At 5:28 p.m., June 30, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I don't know about the other fellas, but I'll be at work.

Besides, I was on holidays all last week.

Agreed about moving the UFA date off of Canada Day.

At 6:13 p.m., June 30, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen "Live Free or Die Hard" twice this week. I really liked it. haha.

At 8:26 p.m., June 30, 2007, Anonymous Lyle Richardson said...

Believe me, there's nothing I'd rather do than get out with my family and soak up the warm PEI sun.

But when you make your living tracking NHL trades and free agent signings, and the rumours that go along with them, Canada Day is spent hunkered down in my den, swilling copious amounts of coffee and typing furiously, and this year, the extra bonus, with one eye on the computer screen and the other on TSN's coverage of frenzy, er, Canada Day.

Yeah, I can tell I've lost most of you by now...;)

Oh, and as far as the latest in the now seemingly never-ending Die Hard saga, the first was the best one. They should've stopped there. Alan Ryckman absolutely stole that movie. One of the best big-screen villains ever.

At 10:22 p.m., June 30, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now I have a machine gun. ho ho ho"

At 10:25 p.m., June 30, 2007, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

...I expect Drury to command about $8-million per season on the open market despite the fact he's never had a 70-point season. He's good, but not that good, and that kind of bloated deal moves him into the liability side of the ledger.

Oh, yeah. "Tis the season for the Winner's Curse

At 4:04 a.m., July 01, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So who bids for Briere? I could see Edmonton, but Buffalo was the perfect spot for him, the Oilers might be a close second.

Buffalo would be best served by replacing him with Scott Gomez, as good a player and VFM(all things being relative)

Even though he's a RFA, David Hale wouldn't be the worst pick up if cap room gets tight in Calgary.

At 7:56 a.m., July 01, 2007, Blogger Becky said...

First Die Hard? Absolutely the best, especially since we were,'t expecting it. The second I have a hard time remembering, the third I don't think I saw at all.

Live Free or Die Hard? Really good! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, despite knowing that McClane will pull it off in the end.

Two thumbs up!

At 8:04 a.m., July 01, 2007, Blogger Becky said...

Briere back to Phoenix...Unless they don't like admitting they were wrong.

Both Briere and Drury will end up on loser teams, content to count their money while sinking to the realms of "I could've been a contender..." while new stars rise to the top.

Or maybe, being from Buffalo, I'm just feeling shat upon today!


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